Do you enjoy the music and burgeoning acting career of Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta? Don’t know who that is? You may know her better as Lady Gaga. One of my favorite comedians/actors is Eric Marlon Bishop, better known as Jamie Foxx. Ilyena Vasilievna Mironoff was born to a Russian-born father and English mother, grew up in England, and became of the most acclaimed actresses of the 20th and 21st century. You know her better as Helen Mirren. I think you get the point by now. However, these are entertainers who may have assumed stage names but not necessarily changed their names legally. Have you ever thought about legally changing your name? And what does the usual name change cost?
If you are interested in changing your name, keep in mind that it could be an expensive and expansive process depending on your circumstances.
The basic name change cost is relatively cheap. This process can get a little more expensive when you consider how changing your name affects the rest of your life.
Name Change Cost Basics
Where you live, and the local laws of your region, determines the name change cost you ultimately pay.
You may have to go to a local court, receive legal documents, and then pay to file those documents. It could be a short legal and bureaucratic process with no lawyer required.
If you live in a small town or city, a name change cost could start as low as $50. A name change cost in a big city could easily be triple that cost or more.
There is no standard cost to change your name. It could cost as little as $50 or as much as a few hundred dollars.
The legal name change process varies state-by-state. You will have to pay court filing fees. Some states or cities legally require you to make a notice or ad in your local newspaper announcing your name change.
You will have to pay to get certified copies of documents certifying your legal name change.
Also, you will need to pay to officially change the name on your birth certificate and Social Security card and get new ones.
So, while it may cost $100+ to start the process, you may end up paying up to a few hundred dollars to finalize the process.
You could change your name because of preference, divorce, marriage, surname hyphenation with a spouse, or religious reasons.
And just because you request a name change does not mean you will automatically get it.
Your new name can’t be a racial or pejorative insult, include punctuation or numerals, or be shared with the name of an established famous person.
Don’t go to a courthouse to change your name for the purposes of shrouding criminal behavior – if you are caught, you may not be able to leave.
Now Get Ready to Pay a lot More for a Name Change
You may be able to legally start your name change process online at Legal Zoom. The process starts at $140. You can download all of the documents you need and start from there.
And that’s it!
No, not really.
If you are worried about the basic name change cost, you should know that there are a host of ancillary costs that follow in the aftermath of the process.
Paying for a new birth certificate and Social Security card is just the beginning of the process.
Consider: just because you legally and bureaucratically change your name does not mean that your name legally recognized in your everyday and professional life.
After paying for the basic name change cost, you must then pay a myriad of fees to change the everyday documents bearing your former name.
Make sure that you bring your newly changed birth certificate and Social Security card and original name change certification documents when changing other ID.
You may need a copy of a court order verifying that you legally changed your name in some states.
It costs nothing to change your Social Security card after you legally change your name.
After you legally change your name, you will have to change your state ID, learner’s permit, or driver’s license.
Call ahead or check your local DMV’s guidelines online before you go to change your ID. After all, you will be standing in line all day, so make sure you bring the right documents.
Changing your state ID or driver’s license may cost $50 to start with, but may cost more where you live.
Generally speaking, you should be able to change your passport via name change for free if your passport is less than 12-months old.
To change the name on your passport under these circumstances, just fill out form DS-5504.
If your passport is over a year old, you may need to pay up to $170 to get it changed.
Also, remember that unless you utilize a one-day express service (which will cost even more money) expect to wait a few weeks to get your new passport.
As long you bring your supporting name change documents, it probably shouldn’t cost you anything to change the name on your bank accounts.
However, be prepared to pay to change your debit and credit cards and checkbook. How much you pay depends on your local bank fees.
Personal and Professional Life
It won’t cost you money, but it will cost you a lot of personal time to inform everyone you know of your name change.
Changing your last name due to marriage is one thing – changing your first and last name affects everyone around you.
You will have to inform your boss, work colleagues, family, friend, and everyone you know of the name change. Give them time to get used to it.
Name Change Cost
No one can stop you from changing your name.
Just remember that a name change cost can cost you more than money. It can cost you in paperwork and readjusting your life to accommodate your new name.